Teen suspect in JCC bomb threats must stay in custody another week, Israeli court rules

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli court ordered the Israeli-American teenager arrested on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish institutions held in custody for another week.

The suspect, 19, appeared Wednesday in Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court. His father, who had been detained on suspicion that he knew about his son’s activities, was released to house arrest with restrictions.

Also during the hearing, the teen’s attorney presented photographs and medical imaging of a non-malignant brain tumor that the defense says affects his behavior.

The teen, whose name is under a gag order in Israel, was arrested on March 23 at his home in Ashkelon following a months-long undercover investigation by Israel’s anti-fraud unit, as well as the FBI in the United States and law enforcement in other countries.

He also is accused of a series of threats made in Israel, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the past six months and of making a threatening call to Delta Airlines, leading to the emergency landing of at least one plane.

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The teen reportedly tried to take a policewoman’s gun during his arrest and harm himself with it.

He reportedly used advanced technology and voice-altering equipment to call in the threats to more than 100 JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions in the United States.